Life's Better Here: Auburn 2011

By Eric Olson

June 29, 2011 Updated Jun 29, 2011 at 5:19 PM EST

AUBURN, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Auburn Indiana has its share of big box stores and strip malls but the heart of this town is still the courthouse square. Auburn has worked hard to keep it beautiful and vibrant and that has made a downtown location a plus for shops like auburn hardware, in business at the same location since 1850.

While other communities ignore their downtown Auburn’s courthouse square is drawing people in. For years local groups have sponsored public art displays, statues, decorated boxes and this year paintings…setting them up on street corners for people to enjoy. The interest they generate has pumped millions of dollars into the local economy. It’s an effort appreciated by stores like Carbaugh Jewelers, doing business at the same spot across from the courthouse for 110 years.

“Our tag line is shop where your great grandparents shopped,” says Carbaugh owner Mike Littlejohn. “You take it off the square it becomes shop where your neighbor shopped yesterday. It’s just that iconic to the community.”

The big box stores and strip malls may garner most of the business traffic in Auburn, but the courthouse square has established an identity and a loyalty all its own, making a shopping trip downtown not just a quest for goods and services, but an experience to be anticipated and savored. Quite an accomplishment for any town, anywhere in America.




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